EYE HEALTH FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY IS CRUCIAL
Your eyes are incredibly complicated and very delicate. Modern life puts a real strain on your eyes - computer screens, dust and pollen in the atmosphere, even some household cleaning agents can all affect your eyes, making them tired, sore or potentially damaging the delicate surface of the eyeball. So make sure you protect your eyes against everything the modern world can throw at them.
· 1. DIY and working environments
· 2. VDU Screens
· 3. Allergies and Hay Fever
· 4. Driving
· 5. Sunlight
· 6. Chemicals
· 7. Sports
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes can lead to a condition called Diabetic Retinopathy as well as other eye problems. Diabetic retinopathy (damage to the retina) is caused by complications of diabetes mellitus, which can eventually lead to blindness.
It is an ocular manifestation of systemic disease, which affects up to 80% of all patients who have had diabetes for 10 years or more. Research indicates that at least 90% of new cases could be prevented if proper treatment and monitoring of the eyes is carried out on a regular basis.
Regular eye tests can help to spot the early signs of this condition and enable you to take action to control diabetes before it damages your body and your eyes.
It is important to maintain regular health checks as there are often no early warning signs for diabetic conditions as in the case with Diabetic Retinopathy. Even macular edema, which may cause vision loss more rapidly, may not have any warning signs for some time. A person with macular edema is likely to have blurred vision, making it hard to do things like read or drive. In some cases, the vision will get better or worse during the day. Diabetics are entitled to free annual eye tests from the NHS.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye conditions where the optic nerve is damaged at the point where it leaves the eye. The optic nerve carries images from the retina, the light sensitive membrane attached to the inner surface of the eye, to the brain.
There are four main types:
· Chronic glaucoma (slow onset)
· Acute glaucoma (sudden onset)
· Secondary glaucoma (caused by another eye condition)
· Congenital or developmental glaucoma (a condition in babies caused by malformation of the eye)
Regular eye tests are important. According to the RNIB, chronic glaucoma affects one percent of people over 40 and five percent of people over 65. The risk of glaucoma increases with age and if left untreated it can cause blindness.
What are the symptoms of Glaucoma?
Chronic glaucoma often has no symptoms and the eye may seem normal. This isn't painful and at first your vision may be unaffected.
What can I expect to happen?
Although damage caused by glaucoma cannot be repaired, with early diagnosis, regular observation, and treatment, this can usually be kept to a minimum. If you do experience some sight loss your Optometrist will be able to advise you on low vision aids and your Ophthalmologist will advise whether you are eligible to register as sight impaired.
The eye test is important for the detection of many eye diseases. If you are over 40 and have a family history of glaucoma, you should have aneye test every 12 months.
What are Cataracts?
A cataract is a clouding of the lens in your eye and can develop in one or both eyes. The lens is normally clear and sits behind the iris – the coloured part of the eye. The lens helps focus light to produce a sharp image on to the retina at the back of the eye and changes shape to allow you to see close objects. A cataract acts like a frosted glass coating that scatters light, causing blurring and lack of clarity.
What are the symptoms of Cataracts?
Cataracts are painless and usually cause a gradual worsening of sight. The main symptoms are:
· Blurring: Your vision may become misty or blurry so that you cannot see details at a distance, or your glasses seem scratched and dirty.
· Dazzled by lights: You may find that you have poor vision in bright light, suffer from glare, and that bright lights such as car headlights are more blinding than usual.
· Double vision: You may start to notice double vision for either close or distance objects.
· Changes in colour vision: You may notice that colours appear faded or washed out.
We recommend that you have an eye test every two years, unless your Optometristadvises otherwise.
What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye is a common medical condition and is caused by a problem with the drainage, evaporation or production of tears. Tears are moved across the eye when you blink to lubricate the front surface of your eye, wash away debris, protect against infection and to help stabilise vision.
Tears are made up of three main components: an outer lipid layer which prevents tears from evaporating and eyelids from sticking together, a middle watery layer which carries nutrients and oxygen, and an inner mucous layer which allows the tears to wet the cornea. Each layer is produced by different glands in and around the eyelids.
It is possible to be diagnosed with dry eye even if you have very watery eyes; this can be due to a problem with one of the other layers of the tears. Dry eye can usually be easily managed.
What are the symptoms of Dry Eye?
Symptoms of dry eye may include your eye feeling irritated, with burning, grittiness of itching of the eye. Brief or intermittent blurring of vision, discomfort in bright light and red eyes may also be noticed. If you use contact lenses they may become increasingly uncomfortable to wear.
What can I expect to happen?
Your Optometrist will offer treatment advice. Failure to treat dry eye may result in complications such as damage to the cornea. We recommend that you have an eye test every two years, unless your Optometrist advises otherwise.